View Full Version : Have you seen a nuke explode?

27th Apr 2014, 20:33
I was on another thread which reminded me of a friend's father (sadly long dead) who showed me around New England with his family.

He was a lovely bloke who, of all things, was a lawyer in the US Air Force.

The thing is, to my knowledge, he is the only person I've ever met who has actually witnessed nuclear explosions. He saw several tests in the desert during the 50s.

Nuclear weapons (or strictly, the threat of their use) have influenced global politics since the end of World War Two.

But who has seen one working?

27th Apr 2014, 20:58
I'd wager that most who have seen one explode from near or far are now themselves angels, mr angels ;)

There is the merest hint of a rumour that what we witnessed with Fukushima exploding was in fact a tiny nuclear explosion rather than a steam generated explosion that spread radioactive matter.


27th Apr 2014, 20:59
My uncle and my mother did, he was in the New Mexico National Guard just after the end of the war and he and my mother lived in Roswell, New Mexico.

My uncle was at White Sands during the above ground testing of nuclear bombs following WWII and my mother saw the flash of the the very first atomic bomb ever exploded. She and everyone else in Roswell that saw the flash were told a bomber had crashed and exploded. Of course she believe that, as it was during the war and they believed whatever the government told them. This came in very handy a couple of years later, in 1947.

My father was supposed to be a pilot of an observation aircraft, B-29, on one of the Pacfic above ground tests, but his orders changed and he missed it, but he did go through the training.

I forgot to add that my parents and uncle are now deceased, mother and father from natural causes, but my uncle from cancer that we now know was casued by his presence at White Sands during the atomic/nuclear bomb testing. He is the only person on either side of my family to die of cancer.

27th Apr 2014, 22:11
It was 1962 at the height of the cold war and I was based at RAF Ballykelly in N Ireland flying Mk II Shackletons. We had recently equipped with nuclear depth charges which were reputed to be lethal to subs within a radius of 1/2 mile from water entry drop point. My crew were tasked with a live practice drop somewhere in the N Atlantic. Sure enough the weapon arrived on squadron with attendant security and was loaded in the bomb bay on its special bomb racks. It looked like a large green dustbin, much larger than the normal depth charges we sometimes carried. We were not told if this was an actual nuclear weapon or a conventional explosive practice weapon. The guys wearing radiation suits and carrying ticking Geiger meters convinced me the green monster was real. We got airborne and headed for the drop zone going through various normal and emergency drills on the way. The drill for removing the weapon if it hung up after arming worried me somewhat ... but I figured it would be a quick death ... :uhoh:
The actual drop from operational height of 200 feet above the sea went well, but curiosity got the better of us, so we left the drop zone in a gentle turn rather than directly away. There was an audible dull thud of an explosion, heard above the appalling noise of four Griffons at full chat. A very large diameter round ring appeared in the sea followed by an enormous plume of water which towered hundreds of feet above our aeroplane. This all fell down into the sea and was followed by what looked like the biggest splash I have ever seen. By the time we had completed our turn the sea was covered with white things which I presume were deep fried fish. The Shackleton could only fly at 180 knots but we sure could make a big splash if needed. :E

tony draper
27th Apr 2014, 22:18
You would get wrong off the greens for doing that kind of thing now.:=
You would probably have to drop a wooden bomb and all shout boom!! when the bloke with the stopwatch dropped his hand.

27th Apr 2014, 22:36
I am not sure which test it was but the resulting flash could be seen as faraway as Australia and New Zealand I believe. Conducted in the Pacific or in space?

John Hill
27th Apr 2014, 22:55
Starfish Prime, we saw some of the sky glow in NZ and HF communications were interrupted for days afterwards.

27th Apr 2014, 22:55
There is the merest hint of a rumour that what we witnessed with Fukushima exploding was in fact a tiny nuclear explosion rather than a steam generated explosion that spread radioactive matter.

Do you have a reference for that?. My understanding was it was simply a result of excess hydrogen build up! Entirely expected under the circumstances.

27th Apr 2014, 22:59
I've had to deal with my wife and her mother - does that count? :ooh:

27th Apr 2014, 23:18
Never seen one explode, but I was at ground zero when we dropped one. It was only a couple of inches, but it made a few hearts miss a beat! (Bear in mind that the trigger is 1,000 lbs of HE.)

27th Apr 2014, 23:25
Some interesting reading here (http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20121026065214/http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/FreedomOfInformation/DisclosureLog/SearchDisclosureLog/NuclearWeaponIncidentInGermany.htm)

West Coast
27th Apr 2014, 23:38
Composite Photos of Tourists Watching Nuclear Explosions (http://petapixel.com/2012/08/01/composite-photos-of-tourists-watching-nuclear-explosions/)

27th Apr 2014, 23:54
Ja Wes Kus jy is n klong...

We put our Pu239 together there too...


Metro man
28th Apr 2014, 02:12
This could be a money maker for the North Koreans, running tours to witness their nuclear tests.;)

There was a program broadcast by the BBC in the 1980s called "Threads" showing the build up to a nuclear war and it's effect on Britain. The sight of a mushroom cloud going up in the distance when filmed from a shopping precinct was frightening.:(

Threads (1984) Full Movie - YouTube

28th Apr 2014, 02:23
What was that song by Fischer Z ?

28th Apr 2014, 02:29
Not a double flash seen through goggles darkly then...? ;)


28th Apr 2014, 02:32
Song was Cruise Missiles from the album Red Skies over Paradise !

So yes, Red Flash through darkened googles :O

28th Apr 2014, 02:41
To answer the question, no, but one of my favourite restaurants in Savannah was at the marina on Tybee Island, so I've been close to an unexploded nuke. :p
(Google Tybee Island nuke.)

On another tack, I once attended ground school with some pilots from Southern Cross Aviation. Southern was a company that among other things, ferried new and used airplanes all over the world. One evening over cold beverages the talk worked its way 'round to aircraft nose art and pin-up posters and calendar art in general. Our dispatch calendar was from Marathon Batteries and featured 12 months of Marathon Bosom Buddies. Theirs was something similar, I seem to recall. One of the Southern guys had recently delivered a Fairchild F-27 to Lawrence Livermore Laboratories, where it was used to ferry scientists from the Livermore location out to the desert where they made things go bang. The calendar in their dispatch office featured 12 nuclear explosions. :D

28th Apr 2014, 02:44
Creedence Clearwater Revival - Have you ever seen the rain? - ( Live ) - YouTube


spInY nORmAn
28th Apr 2014, 06:44
This animation shows a total of 2053 nuclear detonations between 1945 and 1998. Somebody must have seen something!


28th Apr 2014, 09:12
My late father-in-law witnessed the Hiroshima bomb in 1945.
He'd been taken prisoner by the Japanese in Singapore, had a period of building railways in Burma before being put to work in Japan itself.
Luckily for him he was far enough away as he didn't seem to suffer an ill effects and died at a ripe old age.

28th Apr 2014, 09:55
Most people who have seen them at very close quarters, their last words were WTF was that?!! :}

tony draper
28th Apr 2014, 10:01
The way the feckwits who govern us both sides of the Atlantic are performing at the mo, we may well all have another opportunity soon.:uhoh:

28th Apr 2014, 11:01
@ Cacophonix

I can't understand your post Cack, but that's not all that unusual.....

But I guess you were alluding to those nukes and missiles that SA assembled back in the day. I was all a bit 'secret squirrel' was it not?

I hope they've not left any lieing about.

One wonders if they tested ...

Surely, they must have?

tony draper
28th Apr 2014, 11:11
Isn't it suspected that SA tested one in conjunction with Israel,suspicious double flash picked up by satellite out in the Ocean somewhere?

28th Apr 2014, 11:14

It's written up, I think I read it in wiki.

Solid Rust Twotter
28th Apr 2014, 18:13
It's a lie, yer Admiralship.

A big boy did it and ran away...:E

tony draper
28th Apr 2014, 18:43
My Uncle Lez used to make our buckets of sunshine,he died very young,:uhoh:
I still have the ashtray he was presented with when he left Aldermaston,made of a strange metal it is.:uhoh:

28th Apr 2014, 21:04
I still have the ashtray he was presented with when he left Aldermaston,made of a strange metal it is.

Well,,,,,,,,,,,,,as long as yer cigarettes don't self-light when you put them in the ashtray, I think you'll be okay. :p

28th Apr 2014, 21:06
" I still have the ashtray he was presented with when he left Aldermaston,made of a strange metal it is.:uhoh:"

Is it light or heavy ?

tony draper
28th Apr 2014, 21:12
Exceeding heavy and warm to the touch.:uhoh:

28th Apr 2014, 21:15
Reason I ask, we have two lumps of metal (scrag from the side of the furnace) that stand by our fireplace.

They are multi coloured - like steel gets when it has been heated - but when you bend down to pick them up, they are as light as a feather.

Of course it is Titanium !

tony draper
28th Apr 2014, 21:32
I read somewhere that the Cousins obtained the Titanium to build the SR72 Blackbirds from Russia by sneakiness.:rolleyes:

28th Apr 2014, 21:46
Which is true but surprising unless it was a special type.

Commercial mass production of Titanium was developed by IMI / ICI in Birmingham as my father was part of the team and they collectively won the Queens Award for Industry in that year - I think early 60's.

Hence the lumps of metal by our fireplace came from one of the pours !

Um... lifting...
29th Apr 2014, 03:11
My ol' Da' was aboard ship in the Pacific for some of the tests in the 1950s. He's still with us, though whether he saw one go or not I don't actually know.

29th Apr 2014, 03:25
I still have the ashtray he was presented with when he left Aldermaston,made of a strange metal it is.But Mr D - you do have to admit, the "glow-in-the-dark" feature of the ashtray, makes it excellent for finding it, in a darkened house. :uhoh:

29th Apr 2014, 09:59
Herr Draper.

Nope, Lockheeds bought the Ti from Russia overtly.

It's what they did with it that was sneaky.....

29th Apr 2014, 10:54
My big brother did his National Service in the 1950s in the Merchant Navy (he could do that because he was a marine engineer) and spent much of his time shuttling across the Pacific, which included resupplying Christmas Island. He brought me a memento in the form of a large black and white pennant ‘Christmas Island H-Bomb Tests’ which I treasured for many years. Don’t think many tourists will have bought one of those.

tony draper
29th Apr 2014, 11:06
Out first H Bomb test was a fake,they didn't have enough gunpowder to fill the bomb casing or summat so the bomb wasn't ready so we detonated the largest yield fission weapon ever made 500 KT, and called it a H Bomb, never mind, it fooled Ivan.:rolleyes:

29th Apr 2014, 16:59
Mate of mine was a Canberra pilot at the time of the Australian bomb tests and one of his jobs was to fly his aircraft through the aftermath of the test collecting dust samples. He said he wasn't popular with his crew because he wouldn't let anyone off the aircraft until it had been thoroughly washed down - and an hour and a half or so sat in the full sun in the Australian desert wasn't good fun. He also said he doesn't regret doing it since all HIS crew are still alive.

Robert Cooper
29th Apr 2014, 17:12
Saw two of them on Christmas Island. Grapple X 1957 and Grapple Y 1958. Don't want to see any more either!

Bob C

tony draper
29th Apr 2014, 17:16
Orders I'd like to utter at least once before I die.
"We'll take off! and Nuke em from orbit"
Oh and just one other,
"Release the Kraken"

Solid Rust Twotter
29th Apr 2014, 17:19
You left out "Send forth my legions!"

tony draper
29th Apr 2014, 17:21
Oh buggah!,I forgot that one.:(

29th Apr 2014, 17:58
As usual here in JB, noone was able to reliably affirm witnessing "a nuke explode" (as per OP question), but many here responded anyway?!

Apart from Blacksheep that is, who wrote: Never seen one explode, but I was at ground zero when we dropped one.

Unsure of how he survived "that". Unless he was merely saying that he was at more or less "sea-level" when "we" dropped one, several hundreds if not thousands of miles away from the "explosion"...?!

So far as I've understood, noone here has actually witnessed a "nuke" explode (with their own eyes)...?!

But you'd have thought with all the 100s of tests conducted since "the beginning", someone here would have (been an actual witness to a nuke exploding), instead of the usual "I'm just a JB poster, I know what I'm talking about, I should be heard...?!" :p

tony draper
29th Apr 2014, 18:01
One could have fallen off the horse and cart as it was being transported to the waiting Vulcan,that would qualify for being there when one was dropped, we are speaking of the RAF here.:rolleyes:

29th Apr 2014, 18:18
airship - no need to take my question so literally. I knew there would probably hardly be anyone who had seen one. Just thought it would be interesting to see people's tales/views on things.

Re blacksheep, I took it to mean they were popping some instant sunshine into a plane and it fell off and hit the deck. The armourers did it with one of 617's Grand Slams, so why not a nuke?!

Also, see Robert Cooper's response at 1712 and sit on the naughty seat for being an unobservant nit-picker!!

Windy Militant
29th Apr 2014, 18:23
Dear Mr Airship I haven't seen one explode but I know someone who has
Saw two of them on Christmas Island. Grapple X 1957 and Grapple Y 1958. Don't want to see any more either!

Bob C Post #41.

Perhaps reading the previous posts more carefully would save future embarrassment!:p

Oops cross post!:O

tony draper
29th Apr 2014, 18:31
I just hope we still have a few stashed away somewhere out of the way of the prying eyes of the fluffies and greens,and I don't mean them sitting on top of a Trident.
You never know when a plain common or garden airyplane dropped dumb Nuke might come in useful.

29th Apr 2014, 18:44

Was yours this one? Oopsie at Bruggen (http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20121026065214/http://www.mod.uk/NR/rdonlyres/C3FEB537-53A9-4173-8210-95C0886AB273/0/raf_bruggen_boi.pdf)

29th Apr 2014, 19:39
I'm almost beyond caring anymore. Having read about folks here "who simply and somehow wish to be associated with the detonation" of a nuke/s which resulted in several 100s of thousands of deaths...?! :confused:

Do you send your children to the same schools as us...?!

West Coast
29th Apr 2014, 20:20
You could always boycott pprune if you're that outraged.

29th Apr 2014, 20:27

Thinking back to the 70's and 80's, I think every study room in every school house at my school in the UK had some sort of Poster on the wall depicting a mushroom cloud in various colours of red, yellow, pink, grey etc.

And they weren't anti nuke posters either !

29th Apr 2014, 21:12
Just don't "abuse" your own children by somehow "brain-washing" them and trying to convince them that you're the "right person" to properly educate them on these subjects. Unless of course, you're 100% independent...?!

29th Apr 2014, 21:17

You will be very pleased to hear that I don' have any kids
(that I know of) and I don't plan to :ok:

As for "brain washing", I just try to make sure kids don't turn
out as lefty fluffy luvvies :O

Mac the Knife
29th Apr 2014, 21:24

29th Apr 2014, 21:35
You're much safer with pudicats...?!

PS. Grey Kitten is not feeling very well. If I were rich, I'd simply phone the vet and ask him to come around (or take her round). Pay cash.

PPS. She lived in the gutters once. So she's strong. Anyway, vets don't save yer pets, they might extend their lives for a few months (if they're good, dedicated and competent), or simply ensure you spend your last remaining £ or € paying all their bills for unuseful tests, treatments and interventions of all kinds...?! They (vets) expect us nowadays to treat them as if they're equally able to treat human-biengs for similar complaints (and pay the same prices) :sad:

29th Apr 2014, 21:37
deleted by me !

29th Apr 2014, 21:48
He's lost the plot on another thread as well. PUI probably.

29th Apr 2014, 21:52
Lost for any valid arguments? Just personally attack anyone who comes in sight...?!

Why not airship?!

29th Apr 2014, 22:06
I've a "fond spot" for Ozzies for some unexplained reason. Even if, or when they sometimes confuse the validity of their own existences in their "homeland" compared to other (mostly non human-being) species "introduced" to that continent which have somehow become a blight. The British Empire (and/or their equivalents) are no more. Yet Ozzies continue to confuse issues (gimme a dingoe or wild stray cat anyday)...?! :ok:

29th Apr 2014, 22:14

No personal attacks :ok:

If you think that was a personal attack, you haven't seen me in
attack dog mode !

29th Apr 2014, 22:29
500N, as often, the spirit is willing, but the body does not always correspond. Currently going through my average twice annual "gout" treatment arriving at the change of season. "High on the pain-killers and Artotec". Thought I'd got over it all and fooled my body recently by drinking beer instead of Scotch. And "doubled the GP's dosage" in vain.

Luckily, I have a pudicat to protect me from any stray African lions who might attack me this night from the open window on my balcony...?! ;)

29th Apr 2014, 22:35

No worries. I just couldn't follow your posts today, that's all.

Hope you get better soon :ok:

29th Apr 2014, 22:49
...get better?!

Noone would appreciate me if I were completely sane. The increased dosages combined with a few doses of Scotch have done wonders at least for my sentiment of well-being. Exchanging the Scotch for beer merely made me piss more, so I gave up the beer (even the Heineken) the last few days...

Gout is pretty horrific though. Even though it's sometimes heriditary as in my case. Can't quite get to grips with the doc's advice to give up alcohol, severely limit eating spicy foods, shell-fish, red meat etc. Might as well commit suicide. :confused:

PS. More than ever, I'm aware that what I (and most of us post here) is inconsequential. 500(?!) years ago, folks were probably discussing similar issues amongst themselves across a bonfire. Were those discussions of any more consequence back then than they are today?!

All of us here today, are destined to the same rubbish-heap. So we should all make an effort to ensure our voices are heard whilst we still can. Unless we have a special connection to that big red hill in Oz (suddenly came back to me - Ayers Rock). Reminds me of what's her name (ex. Railway children actress). When I was young, I so wanted to get to know her, marry her, make children with her. And today I can't even remember her name...?! [angry]

29th Apr 2014, 23:16
I'm impressed airship,you spelt 'Ayers Rock' correctly.People usually spell it 'Ayres Rock'.Personally,I prefer 'Uluru',as that's what the local custodians call it.

29th Apr 2014, 23:36
I even made the efoort to look up the "Railway Children" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Railway_Children) on Wikipedia. How I once so fancied Jenny Agutter (or in Charles Gainsbourg's inebriated words when on the same French TV platform as Whitney Houston) uttered blankly: "I want to **** you". Alas, both are dead now. Others like me are left with their simple urges. :sad:

Found the YouTube video of Serge Gainsbourg expressing his basic desire for Whitney Houston:


What better (or more honest) compliment can a man make to a woman, than Serge did above?!